Introducing Default 20mph Speed Limits

The Senedd passed The Restricted Roads (20 mph Speed Limit) (Wales) Order 2022 legislation in early 2022. This means speed limits on most restricted roads will reduce from 30mph to 20mph from September 2023.

The change in legislation will only affect residential roads and busy pedestrian streets. Restricted roads include streets with streetlights placed no more than 200 yards apart.

The Welsh Government recognises not all roads currently at 30mph will be suitable to change to 20mph, and is working with highway authorities, Trunk Road Agents (TRAs) and local authorities (responsible for county roads), to identify potential roads where speed limits will be reduced and those which should not.

Wales will be one of the first countries in the world to introduce legislation to have a 20mph speed limit on roads where cars mix with pedestrians and cyclists. These changes support the Wales Transport Strategy (prioritises walking and cycling), and Future Wales: The national plan 2040, which sets the aim for people to live in places where travel has a low environmental impact.

Reducing the default speed limit to 20mph in these areas could see a number of benefits, including reducing road collisions, and more opportunities to walk and cycle in our communities.

The World Health Organisation states that the most effective way to improve pedestrian safety is to reduce the speed of vehicles. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) states that 45% of pedestrians get killed when struck by a car going at 30mph or less but only 5% when going at 20mph or less.

The Welsh government has also been working closely with the police to develop an enforcement strategy which is being applied in the first trial ahead of the proposed national rollout.

The first phase of introducing the 20mph speed limit started in 8 communities including Flintshire, where data gathered will be used to inform future decisions.

The Welsh Government is carrying out local information campaigns in the 8 pilot communities, working to highlight the changes and the potential benefits.